Hannes Mayer, Unit 20 2008/9
Lichonic Architecture

The starting point of this research project is a criticism of the facade and, as a result, a split space. By looking at lichens, the project establishes a design method that defines space without enclosing it, thereby creating continuity between interior and exterior space, public and private. It is a “conception of space as flowing with a ground line wherein the architectural shelter is only a more defined and more complex part of a great continuous whole”. (Decknatel in Bruno Zevi: Towards an Organic Architecture).

The design is driven by image-based vector-fields that break with the convention of the line as a border. Instead, the line becomes a tendency in a spatial continuum. Binary space is replaced by gradients of enclosure. Architecture emerges in these fields as a result of discreetly interpolated forces.
The design method is a symbiosis: it is driven by the spontaneous act of sketching (the image) and enabled by machinic scripting. It is a non-reductive design approach formulated to question an impoverished world of scripted elegance.

Image-based vector-fields have the advantage of being based on observation rather than simulation. Whereas simulation requires a full understanding of the subject matter and is normally used for testing, observation allows for the discovery of hitherto unknown, yet to be described phenomena. In architecture this means abandoning preconceptions and facing chaos, trying to establish methods that allow for the most exact prediction instead.

Despite the exuberance of the final product the whole design is driven by quick and simple sketches and images. Reference image layers are stacked on top of each other to create a three-dimensional colour cloud. Each object generated within the vector field gets an interpolated grey-scale colour value assigned depending on its location in space. A colour table then translates the values and assigns the RGB colour.

The vectors are derived from the difference in pixel values of the initial image input. They are then interpolated to achieve a truly three-dimensional discreet vector field. 3d colour-printed model: The interpolation of colour values in all directions results in flowing gradients and a three-dimensional, solid understanding of colour conditions. The vector field translates an idea that opposes the binary nature of architecture (open - closed) and pushes towards a design characterised by gradients of enclosure.